David Rovics, the topical songwriter from Portland, Oregon, has just released Strangers and Friends, a new album that may well be his best ever. Rovics has been mentioned a lot in this column over the years. Many of this paper's readers have seen [...]
Allende era's music inspires Chileans
The struggle that culminated in the election of Salvador Allende's socialist Popular Unity government in Chile in 1970 was nurtured by a profound musical revolution. While Latin America's Nueva Canción (“New [...]
More than a thousand Julian Assange supporters cheered as Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger introduced Roger Waters at a September 2 demonstration outside the British Home Office. The rally called for an end to the unlawful detention [...]
Folksinger Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) is widely acclaimed as the great bard of the American working class. More than fifty years after his death, his songs are still performed around the world. Guthrie grew up in Okemah, Oklahoma, in the heart of [...]
Johnny Clegg, the South African musician who defied apartheid by forming two highly successful biracial bands, died at his home in Johannesburg on July 16 after a long fight with cancer. Clegg's first band, Juluka, began in 1969 as a duo with [...]
There are times when, in the midst of a democratic struggle, an artist appears who expresses the aspirations and the anger of the people. The Sudanese rapper Ayman Mao is one such artist. His song “Dum” (“Blood”) is widely recognized as an anthem of [...]
Songs of Our Native Daughters
“An artist's duty is to reflect the times”. So said the celebrated African-American singer, pianist, and freedom fighter Nina Simone. Today, Our Native Daughters, a quartet of distinguished and versatile women [...]
John Jeremiah Sullivan's essay “Rhiannon Giddens and What Folk Means” is a must-read for people interested in the history of American folk music and its contemporary relevance. Giddens is a singer, banjoist, fiddler, and researcher from Greensboro, [...]
There are thousands of musicians who make public statements on crucial issues that affect working people; who compose music to educate and inspire progressive change; and who organize and perform at solidarity concerts both large and small.
Liberal rhetoric as a cloak for actual power and the professional celebrity as a status distraction permit the power elite conveniently to keep out of the limelight.
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